At a conference at the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) in Jerusalem on Tuesday, the institute revealed the findings of its survey on world Jewish dialogue, which dealt with the question of whether and how the state of Israel should maintain its relationship with Jews who live overseas and how to maintain the Jewish heritage of diaspora Jews, Israel Hayom reported.
The JPPI's new survey included 16 meetings participated in by 301 leaders and influencers from North America, Australia, and Israel, including a large group of young people between the ages of 20-30. The dialogue was led by Dr. Shlomo Fisher and Dr. John Raski, senior colleagues at JPPI. Approximately half of the participants of the discussions, 47% of all of the participants and 60% of the young participants, feel a distance between diaspora Jews and Israelis and feel that Israelis don't acknowledge or care about them or their needs. 71% of the young Israelis agreed with this statement. The majority of the participants feel that Israelis don't know about diaspora Jewry and its needs, and are unhappy with the situation. 38% expressed a strong will to strengthen personal and humane ties with Israelis, even if they disagree with them on certain matters. 93% of the North American participants call for Israel's increased involvement in education and maintaining the connection with the Jewish state and heritage. 54% believe that Israel needs to be involved in the curriculum and even provide monetary assistance to anyone that wishes to study in Jewish schools or go to Jewish camps.
Besides the call to include Israel in curriculums and the expectations to fund them, the participants expressed their fear that Israeli intervention can be problematic. Some of the participants are suspicious of Israel's goals and the conditions that it may set for its intervention. "The Americans look at us with a lot of respect and suspicion.
Jewish Agency chairman Doron Almog said at the conference: "We can lose millions of Jews, next year will be a year of a national effort to strengthen the connection between Israel and the diaspora. We are at a time of polarization and separation between Jewish communities and congregations overseas and the state of Israel. The Diaspora Jews expect a personal relationship with the citizens of Israel."
JPPI president Prof. Yedidya Stern said: "In another 200 years historians will ask our generation what you did to secure the future of millions of Jews. The Jews overseas are not in any Israeli politician's voting districts, and so they treat them accordingly. We have to make the issue important to the Israeli public, and then something may happen".